The non-indictment of the officers involved in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice has furthered the continued debate about injustices with respect to victims of police brutality. In the announcement of the verdict by Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty on Dec. 28, he stated that the grand jury found that “the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.” Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice sat down with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry for her first interview since the ruling, admitting she is “mad as hell.”
“Due to the corrupt system, I have a dead child. I felt as if breath has been taken out of my body once again,” she said.”It’s a struggle.”
Rice was joined for the interview by her attorney, Jonathan Abady, who took the position that Prosecutor McGinty acted on behalf of the officers rather than Tamir. Though expectant of a fair process in the case, Abady said he later learned that the goal of McGinty was to “distort and manipulate” the matter, holding the 12-year-old victim accountable for his own death.
“We did enter this process with every expectation of cooperating, and with the hope that the prosecutor would address this in a fair and impartial manner,” he said. “Unfortunately, it became clear to us very early on that that was not the case.”
Tamir was gunned down by Officer Timothy Loehmann while holding a BB gun on November 22, 2014. After responding to a 911 call that a young suspect was carrying what looked to be a faux weapon outside of the Cudell Recreation Center, Loehmann opened fire on the 12-year-old, and he was pronounced dead the following day. Rice, still reeling over her loss, told Harris-Perry that her son was “full of life” before his shooting.
“He was full of life and laughter. Tamir had the potential to be anything in the world,” she said. “But Officer Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback didn’t even give him a chance.”
Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis–the 17-year-old who was shot in Jackson, Florida for playing loud music in a parking lot convenience store–also joined Rice for the interview. After her son’s killer was given life in prison without parole, McBath said that the ruling was still “not enough,” noting that other young children, including Rice, are still the victims of violence all around the country.
Watch Samaria Rice’s sit down with Melissa Harris-Perry in the videos below.